<I>Chayei Sarah</I>: Don't Take My Son Back There!

Why was Avraham so adamant?

Aloh Naaleh,

Arutz 7
Avraham commissions his trusted servant Eliezer to seek a fitting wife for his son Yitzchak. After hearing all the instructions, Eliezer turns to his master with the quintessential question: "What if I find the ideal bride, a kallah with alle maales, but her single request is that she and her husband set up their new home close to her family?"

Yitzchak must remain in the Land of Israel.

Not once, but twice, Avraham emphasizes: "On no account shall you take my son back there!" Yitzchak must remain in the Land of Israel.

Why was Avraham so adamant? Surely a committed Jew like Yitzchak would be able to set up a community with all the necessary institutions and live a full Jewish life in Mesopotamia.

We are told that when Ya'akov descended to Egypt, he sent his son Yehudah ahead lehorot lefanav Goshnah, "to show the way before him to Goshen." (Bereishit 46:28) The midrash, as quoted by Rashi, comments on these words, "To set up a house of study from which instruction would issue forth."

The Jewish people, in all their wanderings, demonstrated their unique ability to establish communal institutions within a short time. Look at the American Jewish community with its magnificent yeshivot, day schools, synagogues, and mikva'ot - thriving Orthodox communities rarely seen in past generations.

Yet, even today, Avraham would not be swayed. His words would again ring forth, "On no account shall you take my son back there!"

Generations later, the rabbis of the Mishnah imposed the status of ritual impurity on all lands outside Israel. Their reasoning was simple. In the Golah, Torah study may be profound, prayer may be intense, charitable behavior may be significant. Over all these wonderful elements, however, there hovers an oppressive cloud of foreign values and influence that spreads its insidious poison into our spiritual lives and those of our children.

The Mishnah imposed the status of ritual impurity on all lands outside Israel.

Only in Israel does the possibility exist, difficult as it may be, to create an all-encompassing world of Torah for ourselves, our children and generations beyond.
Rabbi Sender Shizgal writes from Ramot, Jerusalem.

A personal note from Aloh Naaleh's Director, Rabbi Yerachmiel Roness:

I recently returned from a brief trip to Montreal for a family simcha. I heard of a parent who sent his son to study in a yeshiva in Eretz Yisrael. When the time came to return, the son told his parents that he wanted to continue to study and live in Israel.

The father, unfortunately, came to bring his son back to his home and was heard to remark: "On no account shall you take my son back there." The father then discontinued funding the Israeli yeshiva, saying, "I am not going to support them, for they 'brainwash' their students."

On my way back home, on a stop-over in Prague, I had occasion to remark to the local Chabad shaliach that perhaps he should consider living in Eretz Yisrael. He indicated that living in Israel was not on his radar screen.

This contrasted sharply with our stay in N'vei Daniel on Shabbat, where Kabbalat Shabbat was davened overlooking the mountains of Yehuda. A new family that had moved in was recognized, and the kahal sang "Veshavu Vanim Ligvulam.".

The foregoing commentary was distributed by the Aloh Naaleh organization.